Ron Sexsmith: Academy2, Sheffield

A most unlikely success story, the 47 year old Canadian Ron Sexsmith, has until recently been regarded as a top quality songwriter who sings a bit, but that’s all changing with his new found higher profile and tonight’s healthy sized mature crowd make sure he knows how highly they rate him with rousing cheers as he enters the stage with his 4 piece support band. Promoting his 12th studio album Long Player Late Bloomer, a fair description of Mr Sexsmith, he plays many songs from said album the pick of which are perhaps The Reason Why and Nowadays.

His songwriting skills have led to a procession of high profile fans lauding him, such as Dylan, Elton John, McCartney, Elvis Costello and Rod Stewart, the latter covering Secret Heart, which Ron remarked was the main reason ‘I’m stood here now’.

Support tonight came in the form of the lovely Rachel Sermanni a confident singer songwriter and accomplished acoustic guitar player who entertained with a strong charismatic voice and relaxed patter. The pick of an impressive set was possibly Song To A Fox.

This evenings main event appeared soon after sporting a jacket and flowered shirt, an unassuming headliner, Ron Sexsmith has an instant connection with the crowd who appreciate his self deprecating humour such as alluding to himself as having a good face for radio and a documentary of him making the latest album as Shrek 3.

His voice takes a while to warm up but that goes unnoticed as he delves into his vast catalogue of songs with Hard Bargain, covered by EmmyLou Harris, There’s Gold In Them Hills which Chris Martin recorded and the lovely Where My Love Shines and just three of a fine set.

Agreeing to play several requests led to him serenading a honeymoon couple with Bing Crosby’s Moonlight Becomes You before playing the set highlight Whatever It Takes, covered by Michael Buble and then wonderful unaccompanied God Loves Everyone for an encore.

The Sexsmith bandwagon is gathering momentum with new song Believe It When I See It gaining national radio play, so if he’s not careful Mr Sexsmith might find his cult status a thing of the past.